Geoghegan delighted to be back on the field of play with the Orchard camogs

By Niall Gartland

ARMAGH camogie star Ciara Geoghegan is delighted to be back on the field of play having taken a very necessary sabbatical in 2023.

Geoghegan took time out while pregnant and made a timely return for the business end of Armagh’s league campaign, starring with five points from play in their Division 3A final triumph against Laois.

Now they’re three games away from a league and a championship double, their knock-out campaign commencing – and hopefully not ending – with Saturday’s Premier Junior quarter-final clash against Roscommon.

Daughter Erin is already showing her face at matches, and Ciara says it makes playing for her county even more special, a decade-and-a-half into her long and memorable senior intercounty career.

“I got back into training before the league game and returned for the semi-final and final. I’m still working away and trying to get fitter every week.

“It was tough to step back but I’ve a wee girl now so it was definitely worth it. It was a new experience for me in terms of camogie, I hadn’t set the stick down in a long time. Even when I went travelling I still played football and a bit of camogie.

“It’s great to have her at all the games now, things have come full circle in a way. I’m glad to be back playing but it’s even sweeter having her in the stands watching.”

Now 33, Ciara knows that her playing days won’t last forever but she’s been massively encouraged by the influx of talented underage players who are already making their mark on the senior team.

“I’ve been playing for Armagh for nearly 15 years now, I started off when I was 18 and now I’m playing alongside girls who are that age.

“We’ve had a few minors come up to the senior panel and they’ve really strengthened the squad. I’m lucky to still be fit to play alongside those girls. They keep me on my toes, they’re so fast and the skill they have is unreal. It makes me hopeful that the future of Armagh camogie is in good hands.”

Armagh missed out on automatic progression to the semi-finals by dint of their defeat to Tipperary Juniors in their final group stage match last weekend. They still finished second in the group and Geoghegan is confident they’ll learn from their 2-12 to 1-4 defeat.

“In the first half we played against the wind and I thought we stuck with them every step of the way, our backs did very well. After the break things just seemed to click with them better.

“There’s a good chance we’ll meet further down the line, and maybe having that extra game in a quarter-final will do us no harm. It was a 15-minute spell where the damage was done and that’s something we’ll work to ensure doesn’t happen again, and we’ll take the positives from the game as we build for this weekend’s game against Roscommon.”

Armagh and Roscommon are familiar foes at this stage, and while the Orchard County won their two previous meetings in the league (a group stage and semi-final encounter), the Rossies have been going reasonably well in the championship.

“We always have a good battle and they seemed to go really well in their side of the championship. There’ll no doubt they’re producing an extra effort given it’s the championship and hopefully we’ll match that and more come Saturday.”

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